Capitol Alert

California sales tax rates going higher

Target employee Karen Miller talks to Richard Ortiz, 42, of West Sacramento while his children Brianda Ortiz, 7, left, and Diego Ortiz, 3, ride on the shopping cart. Ortiz (he was not working when the picture was taken in 2009) was later hired at the Davis Target store.
Target employee Karen Miller talks to Richard Ortiz, 42, of West Sacramento while his children Brianda Ortiz, 7, left, and Diego Ortiz, 3, ride on the shopping cart. Ortiz (he was not working when the picture was taken in 2009) was later hired at the Davis Target store. rpench@sacbee.com

There’s a wide range of sales tax rates in California, some rates are increasing this week and if pending legislation is successful, the range will get even wider.

Currently, sales tax rates range from as low as 7.5 percent in a few rural counties to as high as 10 percent in some cities.

The state collects 6.5 percent – 4.1875 percent for itself, then another 2.3125 percent that it automatically sends to schools and local governments for specific purposes. On top of that, another .25 percent is collected for county transportation services and another .75 percent for city and county operations.

All of those fractions add up to a base rate of 7.5 percent. In theory, local governments can, with voter approval, add up to 2 percent to the base rate, but some jurisdictions have obtained waivers to exceed that, thus raising the maximum in some areas to 10 percent.

The California Taxpayers Association has compiled a chart of cities and counties whose rates will rise on Wednesday and notes that sales taxes will decline in only one jurisdiction, El Cajon, this week.

The state Board of Equalization, meanwhile, has a website where local sales tax rates can be accessed.

Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, D-South San Francisco, has introduced a bill that would give local governments the power to add another 1 percent to the combined state-local sales tax rate with voter approval. His measure, Assembly Bill 464, is pending in the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee.

Call The Bee’s Dan Walters, (916) 321-1195. Back columns, www.sacbee.com/walters. Follow him on Twitter @WaltersBee.

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